Gainsborough House, Contemporary Eco House, Suffolk

This new contemporary eco house has been awarded the East Suffolk Quality of Place award 2020.

Gainsborough House was conceived as a series of forms in order to reduce the large dwellings potential mass and to avoid a large bulky singular form in the landscape. It instead seeks to provide a collection of buildings linked by green roofs and landscaped walls stepping up the slope of the site and threading their way between mature trees on the site providing gaps to create views through to the wooded context between built forms.

Rather than focusing all the buildings functions within a single form a collection of hillside ‘rooms’ were conceived with support functions and vertical circulation placed within the brick tower. The annexe is its own hillside room cantilevered over the courtyard wall yet connected across a green roof garden to the main house. Storage and garage are hidden in the slope and the walls extend into the landscape. The garage wall curves into the generous entrance to invite in the visitor who arrives into a wide and contained courtyard with front door clearly identified in front. The bedroom wood clad box sits perched above the brick plinth with cantilevers at either end to enhance its elevated presence within the wooded canopy. Again the wood box expressed over the brick form below serves to further break up mass and reduce impact.

The house at lower levels seeks to provide a solid base of Suffolk red bricks that connect the house into the sloping landscape and extends out from the house to tie the structure into its site like the roots of the surrounding trees. The upper levels are oak clad, a lighter appearance’ inspired by the existing oak and other trees on the site. Thus the building will weather and blend into its wooded context.

The brick tower provides a pivot point and landmark within the scheme and its curved form again inspired by the curved shape of the trees

The green roofs seek to further blend the house into the site and reflect its wooded and natural setting. When viewed from the road above the site the house appears a as collection of hillside buildings divided by garden space (green roof)

As you proceed up the slope the views become more spectacular across to the school and church and thus the large wildflower upper green roof makes use of an otherwise dead space to provide further tree top canopy views of the countryside. The green roof also collects rainwater slowing and run off.

Private, public and semi public have a clear hierarchy of defined spaces and separation despite the open woodland site.



Nacton, Suffolk